A trio of terrors can hit in late pregnancy
Important to treat symptoms early if ewe and unborn lambs are to survive
Milk fever, twin lamb disease and grass tetany are the main problems to watch for in the late stages of pregnancy and in lactating ewes at grass.
Milk fever and twin lamb disease can show almost identical symptoms in ewes prior to lambing.
Milk fever or hypocalcaemia is caused by a lack of calcium in the ewe's diet or her inability to mobilise her own calcium reserves.
Unlike cattle, milk fever is most often seen in sheep before lambing. Affected sheep are dull, refuse to eat and often 'go down'.
The symptoms are almost identical to twin lamb disease and the loss of appetite from milk fever can actually lead the ewe to be affected by twin lamb disease at the same time.
Affected animals should be treated with a suitable calcium gluconate injection (injected under the skin) which should be warmed to body temperature before being administered. The disease can be differentiated from twin lamb disease by the ewe's response to the calcium therapy.
Twin Lamb Disease